Return to Ships Index
Following is a transcript of a letter (copied from an 1957 newspaper article -- Frederiction Daily Gleaner?) written to the Taylor family by one of its members, John Taylor, who recounts his 15 Apr - 20 May 1850 voyage from Greenock, United Kingdom to Boston, MA. This routing to Harvey Settlement was quite unusual as in reality Saint John, New Brunswick was the principal port of entry to settlers migrating to Massachusettes, not the other way around.
May 21, 1850
I arrived here in safty yesterday afternoon, after a wearisome yet short and delightful pafsage. And I now take this first opportunity of writing you some account of it. I can scarcely believe that I am so far from home, the time when I look back has been so short; although (I can tell you) I longed very much to get myself on terra firma again. The only roughneys, if it might be called roughneys was in the Irish Channel. Although such a pafsage is, I believe, rarely to be had. We were 32 days from the time we weighed anchor at Greenock to the time we anchored at Qarentine here. Having left the former place on Thursday the 18 th April, and anchored here on Monday morning. I went on board the ship on Sabbath Evening the 15 th April and she left on Monday afternoon.
The first two days there was much confusion between decks - chests hampered above each other - filth in corners and subsequently a prevalent most disagreeable smell. But after that things took a favourable turn, all the chests were properly arranged - the decks swept and washed and the Government regulations posted up in two different places which were as well observed throughout the voyage as circumstances would permit. We were towed down by a steamer to a places called Isla Craig and the sea sicknefs commenced after she left. There were numbers of the pafsengers very ill for two days, I had some good throws myself as well as all the most of them. But experienced nothing of sicknefs, during that time the vefsel rolled pretty heavily, and we were amused by the remarks and exclamations which were sometimes made by the females such as, "Oh Captain, Can ye no rin the ship ashore some place" and "Surely America's a geid place when we have to come through a' this to get tilt"
I ate very little the first week but after that, my appitite improved and I slept as comfortable as though I had been at home. I had as good a berth as was in, the ship being the first berth aft. My bedding ansered nicely but I regreted that I did not supply myself with some Hering potatoes and hard fish. My butter lasted me three weeks only and I must say to the credit of my mother the last was a good as the first. There are two pafsengers besides myself going north to St. Davids. They are from Fife. We had some very cold days about the banks of Newfoundland, which we pafsed on the 5th and 6th current. We had fine cool westerly breeses after that with the exception of two or three days but until then we had fine fair winds from the time we left the Irish Channel. We saw the first land about 5 o'clock on Sabbath when.
New shores des cried made every bosom gay' and in about two hours our eyes rested on a fine tract of land stretching along away to the north-west. The first land seen was a small hill and appeared to resemble a potato pit. Before I take you into Boston I may mention that the ships course was West by North and that we saw three small whales on the 8 th also that we were pronounced by the surgeon when at Quarantine to be the most healthy and cleanly Emigrants that he had inspected this season and that some of my neighbours thought that I was a Flesher.
The ship did not get into the wharf when she came up and I went ashore in a small boat paying the boatman sixpence. I then went in search of Isabella Smith. But I found that she had left the town and gone 7 miles from it somewhere having been married six weeks ago I fell in with her brother and got my dinner from him (I promised to go up to him tomorrow). I then went to inquire about a pafsage to St. Davids and got all the necefsary information from a gentleman appointed for that purpose. I will get conveyance the whole way for about 3 dolls. But the steamer does not sail before Thursday. She sails only twice a week. I will have to take another boat at St. John. This town is mostly built of brick. It is a large city and I suppose thousands of ships in the wharf. The streets are very dirty and some of them paved or rather I should say are paved with wood, on end caswayed for the pavements are brick. They have fine horses and sometimes 3, 4, and 5 before each other in a wagon without reigns.
Things are a dear here as at home, sugar (Brown) 10 cents a pound, cheese 10, beef 10, loaf 10, snuff Tobacco, brandy and some such debatcheries cheap. There are not so many red faces here as in Scotland but there are no beggars or ragged people to be seen nor any one that I have seen the worse of drink except some of our own pafsengers, neither have I met with or seen any imposter, however there is a great out cry about them.
The fields are beautiful and green with the sheep and cattle grasing on them. There are no dykes nor stakes to be seen along the river. The fences are all wood. No plantations and very few trees, and that I have seen are of small size. The farm steadings are all very like each other all white washed and large barns but no appearance of threshing mill. I will send a newspaper to my father when I arrive at St. Andrews. I hope that this will find you all well and none of you too anxious abaout me. I am in good health and nothing to make me dispirited as yt. I have wrote you a rather long Epistle and have been in such a hurry I am afraid you will scarcely be able to read some of it. Remember me to all inquirers. It will be some time perhaps before I write again, but your will know how to addrefs me. I am your affectionate brother.